Thursday, 31 August 2017

Reading wrap-up + Favourites // August 2017

Hello, beautiful people!

The month of August has come to a close, which is so sad for me, because this month was full of holidays, the first long ones I've had in two years. I'm so not ready for real life to start again and to my anxiety to come back full force, but I guess every good thing must come to a close at some point. Enough with the sad thoughts, because August was such an amazing month for me and I'm so excited to talk about it.

  • Empire of Dust by Eleanor Herman 
  • Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy ☆ (reread)
  • The Lily of the Valley by Honoré de Balzac 
  • Summer in February by Jonathan Smith 
  • Crystal Storm by Morgan Rhodes 
  • Emma by Jane Austen 
  • Travelling to Infinity by Jane Wilde ☆.5
  • Katherine of Aragon, the True Queen by Alison Weir 
  • The Changeling's Journey by Christine Spoors ☆.75
  • L'Oubliée de Salperwick by Annie Degroote (French book) 
  • Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier ☆☆☆☆.5
  • The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson ☆☆☆
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Our Dark Duet by V.E. Schwab ☆☆☆☆
  • The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry ☆☆☆
August was an amazing reading month and I had decided to crush my TBR pile before going to London, which I did because I managed to read eleven books in two weeks. Yup. It was a month filled with classics, and I enjoyed every single one of those! Most of my favourite books of the month were classics, with my reread of Far from the Madding Crowd (my favourite book), Emma and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. The only exception to this apparent rule was Crystal Storm, the fifth instalment in the Falling Kingdoms series, which I love so much.


TV SHOW // Downton Abbey (rewatch)

If you didn't know, Downton Abbey is my favourite TV show and I really missed it. Somehow, I managed to rewatch the first three seasons in a week and a half (and even watched season 1 twice, oops) and it was so much fun to rewatch it with my best friend (sometimes I was just staring at Matthew and didn't follow anything though). I loved it even more than the first time around, because it's perfect for me. It's filled with history, England, amazing plotlines, characters and relationships, and most importantly... Dan Stevens. Matthew Crawley is so perfect, I'll cry forever.

TV SHOW // Poldark

Season 3 finished airing in the UK in August and after seeing people raving about it, I watched it in three days. I wasn't a huge fan of season 2, but the third one was everything I wanted and more. I was so obsessed with it that I couldn't think about anything else. This show truly is amazing and it makes me want to visit Cornwall someday (read: ASAP). Besides, I would protect Dwight Enys (has anyone else noticed that he looked a lot like Matthew Crawley?) and Morwenna Chynoweth at all costs.


So. If you follow me on social media... You already know that I'm completely obsessed with Dan Stevens (and that's an understatement). Well, I've been quite infatuated since Downton Abbey all those years ago, but it came back full force this year (because of Legion and Beauty and the Beast) and in August? It got crazy. This month, I watched Summer in February (okay book, great movie), Criminal Activities (Dan's character saved the movie because meh), rewatched Beauty and the Beast and Downton Abbey and started to listen to the audiobook he recorded for And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. I'm helpless. I also need to rewatch Legion because it's my favourite show of the year and I still have to wait six months for season 2 (sad months ahead)(also season 2 starts filming tomorrow!!).

BOOKS // Daphne du Maurier

In June, I discovered My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier and it became one of my favourite books of the year. In August, I watched the 2017 adaptation and it made me love the book even more (was it possible? Apparently). I also devoured Jamaica Inn, which was absolutely amazing and it left me craving for more. I'm currently reading The Loving Spirit (her debut novel) and I'm loving it. Then I really want to discover The House on the Strand, Frenchman's Creek, The Birds and Rebecca obviously (but I'm taking my time with this one, because I've already watched an adaptation). Daphne du Maurier is becoming one of my favourite authors.

EVENTS // Cassandra Clare and Holly Black's signings in London 

Last but certainly not least, on August 17th, I met Cassandra Clare and Holly Black. I'm still in shock. I went to London for the event basically and I will always cherish these memories. It was fun to meet Holly, who is hilarious, because I told her it was with The Spiderwick Chronicles I realised I was a fast reader and I showed her my very old copy. Meeting Cassandra Clare was a dream of mine and I never thought it would happen, least of all this year. I was freaking out but she was the nicest and we talked for so long! She used to live in Paris (like me) and we even talked in French (!!). I also told her I had started to read in English for Clockwork Prince and she was so surprised, but what can I say. One of the best moments of my life.

What was the best book you read in August? 
What were your favourite things this month?

Lots of love,

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

London Book Haul (part 1)

Hello beautiful people!

I spent two days in London for Cassandra Clare and Holly Black's signings last week and I benefited from that time to buy some new books, for my TBR was very small and I really wanted to buy classics. I'm so excited to read them all, because these were all at the top of my wishlist. I'll admit it, when I saw so many of the Penguin English Library collection reunited, I couldn't resist and that's mostly what I bought.

Side note: This one is called London Book Haul (part 1) because I'm going back to London on September 1st, the day of Harry Potter's epilogue. I'm crying in advance.

Our Dark Duet by V.E. Schwab

While I was at Forbidden Planet, I stumbled into signed copies of Victoria Schwab's books and I was so excited, for I love her books so much. I had yet to purchase Our Dark Duet, sequel to This Savage Song, which is why I couldn't resist and I'm so excited to read it. It's the only one of Schwab's YA books I still have to read.

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

I have seen this book everywhere on Bookstagram and many people said it was their favourite book of the year. It is set during the Victorian era and involves the mythical Essex serpent, which is making me very curious (even though I'm terrified of snakes), I'm pretty sure it is right up my alley. Besides, this hardcover is absolutely gorgeous and it was only ten pounds.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

I read Great Expectations years ago in French, my first ever Dickens, and it is one of my favourite books ever. I'm planning on rereading it with my friend Clara in the near future and I really wanted to buy this hardcover edition, because it's absolutely gorgeous and there are so many notes in it. 

You can see glimpses of the artwork for each of these Penguin English Library editions,
I'll take more pictures of them in the future, of course!

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

Last year, I read North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell and really enjoyed it. I wanted to discover more of this author's novels and while I'm a little intimidated by this one because of its length (794 pages), Ellie Dashwood got me so excited about it.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Now that I've read (and loved!) Emma, I only have Mansfield Park and Persuasion to read, when it comes to Jane Austen's novels. I'd rather read Persuasion last, because it was the last one to be published, which only leaves... Mansfield Park. Out of all Jane Austen's novels in the Penguin English Library edition, Mansfield Park is for me the most beautiful and I'm really excited to read it! This is one of the longest of Jane Austen's novels, but as I've managed to read Emma, it shouldn't be a problem.

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

This is one of Dickens' more popular novels and I still haven't read it. *hides* However, visiting Charles Dickens museum while I was in London made me so eager to read more of his books, starting with this one.

I have read Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, I have read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, but Anne Brontë? I still have to read anything she wrote. To be accurate, I'm currently reading it and so far, I'm really loving it; I sure hope it stays that way, as I've heard so many people loved it.

The Loving Spirit by Daphne du Maurier

I have now read two of Daphne du Maurier's novels, My Cousin Rachel and Jamaica Inn, and want to read all of the books this author ever wrote. I didn't know which one to pick up next, but The Loving Spirit is her debut and I'm curious to see what her first novel is like.

Have you read any of these books? What was the last book you bought?

Lots of love,

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

My Cousin Rachel // From page to screen

Hello beautiful people!

I've been thinking for a while about new content for this little blog and I realised that I truly wanted to talk about book adaptations, especially when it comes to classics because a) I love period dramas b) I think adaptations are a great way to keep you motivated when you're reading a classic and it's a little dense. This new feature is called "from page to screen", because my blog name is ofwishesandpages, it was absolutely fitting. 

Anyhow, I wanted to start this series of posts by talking about My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier, for the movie was recently released.

What is My Cousin Rachel about?

Orphaned at an early age, Philip Ashley is raised by his benevolent older cousin, Ambrose. Resolutely single, Ambrose delights in Philip as his heir, a man who will love his grand home as much as he does himself. But the cosy world the two construct is shattered when Ambrose sets off on a trip to Florence. There he falls in love and marries - and there he dies suddenly. Jealous of his marriage, racked by suspicion at the hints in Ambrose's letters, and grief-stricken by his death, Philip prepares to meet his cousin's widow with hatred in his heart. Despite himself, Philip is drawn to this beautiful, sophisticated, mysterious Rachel like a moth to the flame. And yet... might she have had a hand in Ambrose's death?

My thoughts

In My Cousin Rachel, Daphne du Maurier creates a gothic atmosphere filled with tension and anticipation, for it takes the first half of the book for the reader to finally meet Rachel. Despite her physical absence, she's everywhere, a mighty being the reader can't help but try to picture, until she ends up being human. This novel is gripping and keeps the reader on the edge of his seat, for he wants to know the truth behind all the deceptions. While the characters are deeply flawed, you can't help but emphasize with every single one of them in turn and that is the genius behind the novel. You have to think for yourself, because du Maurier doesn't hand the truth to you on a silver platter: it's up to the reader to make his interpretation.

When it comes to the movie that was released this year, I thought that it was such an amazing adaptation of the novel. The atmosphere created there reflected the book so well, with the music filled with tension and a spectacular scenery. It was so Daphne du Maurier when they were in Cornwall, I was speechless. I thought it went a little fast in the beginning, as it is a short movie and we don't have the luxury to wait for Rachel for a long time. Because of that, Philip's obsession with her and how he tried to picture her was a little lost on me because I kept comparing it to the book and I'm not sure it was seen the same way by an audience which hadn't read the book. Nevertheless, it made more sense to do it that way, I'm just a little bitter because I wanted to see Florence more, but as I recognized all the places they showed, I was quite pleased.

The main actors of the movie did an amazing job of carrying it on their shoulders. I love Sam Claflin and was very excited to see him play Philip and I thought that he did a very good job, he acted Philip's obsession and infatuation with Rachel so realistically, while Rachel Weisz portrayed a clever, manipulative and frightening Rachel. Their relationship jumped back and forth, made the audience doubt of Rachel's feelings and it was so well-done. Secondary actors, I'm thinking about Holliday Grainger (Louise Kendall) and Iain Glen (Nick Kendall), also delivered a very good performance, but Rachel Weisz obviously was the real star of the movie. Moreover, can we talk about who they cast as Ambrose? They are so clever.

The movie was very good at creating doubt in the mind of its audience. Several times, it was asked: "did she, didn't she?", to remind us that there wasn't only one solution. I actually liked that one interpretation hinted in the book was made a little clearer here, especially at the end of the movie, because you leave the movie thinking about it. 

Overall, My Cousin Rachel is one of my favourite books of the year and its adaptation was very good at recreating du Maurier's atmosphere as well as the doubt. I'm not sure how it stands for itself when you haven't read the book though, but it made me want to read all of Daphne du Maurier's books, even more than before.

Have you read My Cousin Rachel? Seen the adaptation?

Lots of love,

Thursday, 3 August 2017

TOP 5 // Classics I want to read the most

Hello beautiful people!

Lately, I've been in a huge mood to read English classics, which couldn't make me happier, as classics used to be a big part of my reading life. Because I have so many of them on my wishlist - I'm going to London soon and I'll buy tons of them - I thought I would share the five of them I want to read the most lately. 

Emma by Jane Austen

I still have three of Jane Austen novels to read and because of the YouTube channels I've been watching lately or my craving for period drama, I'm so excited to continue to read them. Emma is the one I'm the most excited to get to because many of my friends told me it was either their favourite or second favourite Jane Austen. That's all I need to be excited. After Emma, I'll also have to get to Mansfield Park and Persuasion, then to move on to her youthful writings.

When it comes to the Brontë sisters, I read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights six years ago, but as Anne Brontë isn't well-known in France, I never got around to read one of her novels. I'm really curious to read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and I've heard it was considered scandalous when it was published, but quite a sucess and that it was very mysterious and feminist. 

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Ever since I read Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee, I've been eager to read more of Tolstoy's novels. I read Anna Karenina while I was still in high school and had absolutely loved it. I think I'll reread it in the future, because I don't remember it that well, but for now, I really want to read War and Peace, because I've had the 2016 mini-series on my laptop for a year, but also because I'm very curious about the way he wrote it, considering how huge it is (more than a thousand pages).

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

Last year, I read North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell and really enjoyed it. I wanted to read more of her novels, but I didn't know where to head next, until I watched Ellie Dashwood's most helpful video. I really want to read all the books she mentioned, but I think I will to start with Wives and Daughters, because it sounded absolutely amazing when she talked about it. Besides, Elizabeth Gaskell wrote a biography about Charlotte Brontë and I need to read it.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

I don't know anything about this one, except that it's one of the first mystery and "sensation" novels and that some people consider it to be the first example of detective novels. Besides, this novel was written during the Victorian era (that's my thing) and Wilkie Collins was a close friend of Charles Dickens, one of my favourite writers!

Have you read any of these books? What classics do you really want to read?

Lots of love,

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Reading wrap-up + Favourites // July 2017

Hello, beautiful people!

It's been a long time since I wrote anything here, but there I am, on holidays for the first time in *gasp* two years (wait, it means that I haven't gotten a real one since I started this blog? Wut). The past few months have been pretty dense and draining, but finally, I missed blogging. If this isn't one of the biggest blogging slumps of ever, I don't know what it was. Per usual, I read tons of books, even though I was at my internship all weekdays; because what is sleep? Or eating? I dunno.

Let's move on to the books though, or I'll start to ramble. In July, I read a grand total of sixteen books.
  • Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie ☆☆☆☆
  • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (reread) ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (reread) ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (reread) ☆☆☆☆☆
  • The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee ☆☆☆☆
  • The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory ☆☆☆☆
  • The White Queen by Philippa Gregory ☆☆☆☆
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (reread) ☆☆☆☆☆
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt ☆☆☆☆☆
  • The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman ☆☆☆☆
  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Saints for All Occasions by J. Courtney Sullivan ☆☆☆
  • The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord ☆☆☆☆
  • La chanson des enfants perdus by Béatrice Bottet ☆☆☆
  • The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante ☆☆☆☆
  • Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter ☆☆☆☆☆

I had an amazing reading month and didn't really dislike any book, which is such a relief, as I really don't want to lose my time with books I don't like anymore. My favourite books of the month were by far: The Secret History, The Handmaid's Tale and Hamilton: The Revolution, if I don't include my rereads obviously. It was a month of not reading that much YA apparently and I'm not really surprised to be honest.


TV SHOW - The White Queen

This month was all about historical fiction in terms of reading, but also for TV shows. I had started watching The White Queen when it aired four years ago, but then, I stopped for no reason at all. This time around, I became so obsessed with it; because I don't know a lot about the War of the Roses, but I'm always eager to see British history on TV. I loved how it centered around different women and I ate the whole season in a matter of days. After that, I decided I wanted to read Philippa Gregory's book series, which is why I haven't watched The White Princess yet, for I want to be caught up with the books.

MUSIC - Sara Farell's cover of It Ain't Me and I Don't Wanna Live Forever

About 90% of what I listened to originated from a musical or a movie (I listen to soundtracks all the time, even if it's only instrumental), but sometimes, I try new playlists on Spotifyand that's how I discovered Sara Farell's covers of It Ain't Me and I Don't Wanna Live Forever. I became absolutely obsessed; because it was acoustic versions and I listened to It Ain't Me on repeat for 24 hours, as it fit so well with something that were happening in my life. I owe you, Spotify!

What have you been up to this month? What was the best book you read?

Lots of love,